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From Spartan to Tar Heel: Javonte Williams’ path to success

Playing football for the University of North Carolina has been a dream come true for Javonte Williams, the former running back for Wallace Rose Hill High School. Williams had many other offers from a number of colleges including Ivy League schools such as Harvard and Yale — but his heart was set on being a Tar Heel. When the offer came in from Carolina, Williams jumped at the chance, so much so that he enrolled a semester early in January 2018.

“I wanted to get a head start,” said Williams, who was able to arrive at UNC early thanks to college and career promise classes that he took at James Sprunt.

College and Career Promise classes, or CCP classes as many refer to them, have been offered at James Sprunt for several years. Many students in area high schools have taken advantage of those classes, earning college credit that will transfer to a college or university.

When Williams, who is 18, returned to campus in Chapel Hill this semester, he did so as a sophomore.

“The classes at James Sprunt helped me to get a semester ahead, so I was able to graduate early from high school,” said Williams. “The classes transferred to UNC and were applied directly to my program completion for my bachelor’s degree.”

“I did it all online through James Sprunt, while at Wallace Rose Hill. … We went to a computer lab where everyone takes their online classes. … It was kind of cool,” said Williams.

Graduating high school with a GPA of 4.6, his performance on the football field, and in the classroom, caught the eyes of coaches and recruiters alike at UNC and has helped to set him apart.

When speaking to the media during ACC Football Media Day in July 2018, former UNC Coach Larry Fedora said “I’m really excited about Javonte. First of all, he comes in, graduates from high school early, he’s there in the spring and he acts like he’s a junior or senior. He’s very mature. He’s very mature in the way he handles himself and how he approaches every day.”

Courtesy of James Sprunt Community College

That maturity is what helped Williams get a full-ride scholarship to Carolina and earned him the opportunity to fulfill his dream of being a football player for UNC.

“The CCP classes at James Sprunt helped me with my time management skills,” said Williams. “The work is not hard, it was just about how you could manage your time.”

Some of the classes that Williams took through James Sprunt Community College included American History I and II, Music Appreciation, Art Appreciation, and Spanish I and II.

“If I could do anything over, I would have taken more online classes. … At first, I didn’t think it was a big deal, so I didn’t really take any classes when I started high school,” said Williams on his experience at James Sprunt. “Taking college classes earlier benefits you more in the long run.”

The running back for UNC hopes that he is someone that others can look up to, and realize that just like him, you can make it big.

“Don’t try to just get by, do your best,” said Williams. “Try to make the best grade possible so that it can carry over to college.”

Williams is currently working on his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. He hopes that he can one day play in the NFL, saying that he would love an opportunity to play for any team in Florida or stay close to home and play with the Carolina Panthers.

After his football career, he hopes to be able to stay involved with sports, possibly working for a company like Nike or exploring opportunities in Sports Marketing.

“I am going to need to be around sports in some way when I am finished with school, and playing football,” said Williams. “It’s in my blood.”

Editor’s note: This perspective was first published by James Sprunt Community College. It has been posted with the author’s permission.

Cheryl Hemric

Cheryl Hemric is the public information officer at Robeson Community College. Hemric has worked in the North Carolina Community College System, promoting student success, for over 20 years. She is a proud graduate of a community college, holding an associates degree in advertising and graphic design, and loves to share the story of how education can changes lives and give people hope. She received her bachelor’s degree from Liberty University and her master’s degree in marketing from Southern New Hampshire University.